Omaha, Nebraska , United States
|| October 20, 1952
|Last Modifed||Maryland Republican|
Oct 10, 2020 02:42am
|Info||On October 20, 1952, Donald W. Kleine was born into the South Omaha family of Donald E. Kleine and Elizabeth (Betty) Mulligan Kleine. As the son of a second generation Union Pacific Railroad foreman Don learned a strong work ethic. Don’s mother, a homemaker, impressed upon Don the importance of family and friends. Don has one brother Mark and two sisters, Susan and Mary Pat. Don’s father was one of eight children who grew up in the area of 8th and Hickory in Omaha. Don’s mother was one of three children growing up in the neighborhood of 24th and Valley in Omaha. |
Don grew up in South Omaha and was a student at St. Adalbert Grade School. He attended Creighton Prep High School, graduating in 1970 and lettering in Cross Country and Track. During his high school years Don also played C.Y.O. athletics for St. Adalbert’s Parish and was a standout baseball and basketball player. Don attended Creighton University as an undergrad for one year before transferring to Kearney State College. At Kearney State, Don graduated in 1974 with a double major of Comprehensive Business and Spanish and also played college baseball, lettering in his junior and senior years. Don worked his way through college in the summers as a carpenter, carman helper, and machinist helper at Union Pacific Railroad. While working for U.P. he was a member of the Brotherhood of Carmen and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union. He then earned a law degree from the Creighton University School of Law in 1977.
Upon graduation from law school, Don clerked for the Judges of the 4th Judicial District of Douglas County. In 1978 Don joined the Douglas County Attorney’s Office as a Deputy County Attorney, under the leadership of then County Attorney, Donald (Pinky) Knowles. Don prosecuted many cases during this time and his reputation as a hard working trial attorney and fair but tough prosecutor grew. In 1983, Don entered the private practice of law by establishing his own law firm, Donald W. Kleine Law Office. Don’s practice flourished and four attorneys and retired Judge Elizabeth Pittman eventually joined the firm.
In 1991, Don returned to public service when he was recruited by then County Attorney, Jim Jansen, a Democrat, to be the Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney. This is the second highest law enforcement position in Douglas County. As Chief Deputy, Don personally prosecuted the high profile criminal cases. He supervised approximately 50 Deputy County Attorneys and was mentor to the newer attorneys on staff. In addition, he also coordinated criminal investigations with members of the Omaha Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and other law enforcement agencies within Douglas County.
As Chief Deputy, Don spearheaded law enforcement efforts to convict and jail: murderers, rapists, sex offenders, drug dealers, gang members, thieves, and white-collar criminals. Don personally prosecuted criminals in over 125 jury trials. Don prosecuted and convicted serial rapist, David Burdette, and the Dundee Rapist, Thomas Freeman to name a few. He pioneered the forensic use of DNA evidence in the state of Nebraska and its presentation in the courtroom. Don has also had over 20 cases before the Nebraska Supreme Court and other Federal Courts of Appeals.
Don’s expertise as a Criminal Prosecutor lead the Omaha Police Department to request him to teach their police officer recruit classes at virtually every academy class since 1991. Don is certified as an Instructor by the Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice and instructs officers on aspects of Constitutional and Criminal Law.
Don’s teaching skills are not confined to Law Enforcement. Don teaches Trial Practice to law students at the Creighton University School of Law and Advanced Business Law and Ethics in Business to UNO students as an Adjunct University Professor. Don also has given numerous seminars, to include DNA, search and seizure, identity theft, high profile homicides, elder abuse, child abuse and several other topics to attorneys and prosecutors across the state.
The Chief Deputy position also required Don to manage multi-million dollar budgets, and to decide where to allocate taxpayer resources in the most efficient and effective manner. In doing so, Don was involved in the development of the Douglas County Drug Court, and the Douglas County Diversion Program. Both of which, have been very successful, and are a template for other counties throughout the State of Nebraska and the region. These types of innovations effectively deal with non-violent offenders and free up attorneys to focus on prosecuting the more violent and hardened criminals in our community.
With regard to victims, Don was also involved in the creation of Project Harmony, a state of the art child advocacy center. This center has become the model for the care, investigation, and prosecution of child abuse cases. The Victim-Witness section of the Douglas County Attorney’s Office was also created under Don’s watch. Staff members work with victims in implementing the Victim’s Bill of Rights and keeping victims informed about their case throughout the criminal justice process.
When Nebraska’s Death Penalty law was essentially invalidated by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Don was instrumental in reinstituting a workable Death Penalty statute. Don, as Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Nebraska County Attorneys Association, worked with Governor Mike Johanns and State Senators in a Special Session of the state’s Unicameral to create a new process for the implementation of the Death Penalty. Don’s experience as a prosecutor also lead Governor Johanns to appoint Don to the Governors Commission for the Protection of Children, where Don is the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Child Death Investigations.
In 2003, Don was again recruited to provide his prosecution expertise to the people of Nebraska. This time, the Nebraska Attorney General, Jon Bruning, a Republican, appointed Don to be Chief of the Criminal Bureau for the Nebraska Department of Justice.
As Chief of the Criminal Bureau, Don manages the Criminal Prosecution Division and the Criminal Appellate Division of the Nebraska Department of Justice. Don prosecutes murderers, methamphetamine dealers and abusers, child abuse cases and sexual assaults, and high profile cases, to include the prosecution and conviction of former State Treasurer Laura Lee Bird. He also works on legislative packages and was involved in the recent statutory penalty increase for methamphetamine offenders. As Chief of the Criminal Bureau, Don has prosecutorial authority in all 93 counties in the state and is routinely called upon by County Attorneys for assistance and advice.
This responsibility has given Don the unique opportunity to work with many of Nebraska’s County Attorneys, both Republican and Democrat. Don’s great working relationship with the County Attorneys across the State of Nebraska lead to his election, by his fellow prosecutors, to the position of President of the Nebraska County Attorneys Association for the October 2004 to October 2005 term.
Don’s commitment to his community does not stop with prosecuting criminals. He is a member of St. Gerald’s Catholic Parish and has coached basketball and volleyball in St. Gerald’s youth athletic programs. Don has also volunteered for the last 10 years with community youth programs to include the Ralston Optimists, Ralston All-American Football, Ralston Youth Baseball, and United Soccer. Don has coached over 20 teams in football, basketball, and baseball, to include most recently his grandson’s baseball team to a championship season.
Making his community safe is important to this husband and father of three. Don’s wife, Kim, is a registered nurse working for Alegent Health Homecare and Hospice as community relations coordinator. Don’s first born, also named Donald, is an attorney in private practice in Omaha. Don’s daughter, Kevin Maureen, is married to Shane Thomas and they have been blessed with two children, Luke and Emily. (Grandpa spends as much time as possible with them!). Philip, the youngest, is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and is also living in Omaha.
Don and Kim both believe that their faith and their family have supported them over the years and given them so much to be thankful for. Giving back to the community is one way to share the gifts and blessings that they have had. Don’s decision to serve his community as a professional prosecutor has lead to multiple convictions, putting violent criminals in our community behind bars.
Don now wants to bring his prosecutorial experience back to the people of Douglas County as the Douglas County Attorney.
Don does not talk about being tough on crime, Don’s record shows:
1) Don Kleine is Tough on Crime
2) Don Kleine is the Most Experienced Prosecutor, and
3) Both Republicans and Democrats have entrusted Don Kleine to protect our community.
Experience Counts! Let’s get Don Kleine, an experienced, veteran prosecutor, elected to become the next Douglas County Attorney!